Comparative biochemical and transcriptome analyses in tomato and eggplant reveal their differential responses to Tuta absoluta infestation.
Tomato is more prone to Tuta absoluta invasion and damages as compared to other host plants but the mechanism behind this preference has not been elucidated. Here, two contrasting host preference plants, tomato and eggplant, were used to investigate biochemical and transcriptomic modifications induced by T. absoluta infestation. Biochemical analysis at 0-72 h post T. absoluta infestation revealed significantly reduced concentrations of amino acid, fructose, sucrose, jasmonic acid, salicylic acid, and total phenols in tomato compared to eggplant, mainly at 48 h post T. absoluta infestation. Transcriptome analysis showed higher transcript changes in infested eggplant than tomato. Signaling genes had significant contributions to mediate plant immunity against T. absoluta, specifically genes associated with salicylic acid in eggplant. Genes from PR1b1, NPR1, NPR3, MAPKs, and ANP1 families play important roles to mitigate T. absoluta infestation. Our results will facilitate the development of control strategies against T. absoluta for sustainable tomato production.